WASHINGTON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Managers of a publicly funded school in the District of Columbia diverted at least $3 million in contracts to enrich themselves, the city claimed in a lawsuit filed on Tuesday.
The civil lawsuit alleges that the three former managers of Options Public Charter School, founded to serve troubled teens and students with disabilities in the city, engaged in an elaborate contracting scam and “a pattern of self-dealing” by setting up two for-profit companies to deliver high-priced services to the school, the suit said, according to the Washington Post.
The companies won lucrative contracts for bus transport and school management, and the former school managers were paid “exorbitant” bonuses shortly before they retired this summer to run the two companies full time, the suit alleges. The chairwoman of the school’s board of trustees aided in the scam, it said.
Donna Montgomery, former chief executive of the school and president of the two for-profit companies, said in a statement that no public funds were misused and that all contracts and payments “were disclosed and vetted by a variety of third parties, including the Options Board, outside auditors and the D.C. Public Charter School Board.”
Charter schools in the city receive public funding but are run by private boards.